Tinosorb: An Awesome Sunscreen Ingredient


I wear sunscreen religiously. I research sunscreens and their ingredients frequently because if I’m going to put the effort of smearing it on everyday then I want it to be effective. I love zinc oxide,  and I love Mexoryl but another ingredient  that packs a ton of sun protection punch but hasn’t received much attention in Canada is Tinosorb, specifically Tinosorb M and S. The FDA hasn’t approved it in the United States but tinosorb is a common ingredient found in sunscreen products throughout Europe. One awesome bit of news: you can find a sunscreen with that contains tinosorb at Shopper’s Drug Mart namely Avene High Protection Emulsion 40 SPF. So, what’s so special about it? Let me explain.

Tinosorb is the name of particular group UV absorbers namely, Tris-Biphenyl (Tinosorb A2B), Bisoctrizole (Tinosorb M), Bemotrizinol (Tinosorb S), and Octyl methoxycinnamate (Tinosorb OMC). Tinosorb M and S are the major players because of their ability to provide stable and broad-spectrum sun protection.

Furthermore, Tinosorb is shown to protect from both UVA and UVB rays and short and long wavelengths; fairly impressive. Tinosorb M acts as both a physical and chemical sunscreen, protects from UVA and UVB, barely absorbs into the skin, and doesn’t degrade in sunlight. Tinosorb S offers fantastic UVA protection because it covers a large portion of the UVA spectrum. Avene’s sunscreen contains both Tinosorb M and S.

  • The Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary states:
  • in Europe there are two sunscreen ingredients—Tinosorb S (bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine) and Tinosorb M (methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenol)—that are approved for sun protection across the entire range of UVA radiation.
  • From the Environmental Working Group site:

Four European sunscreen ingredients merit close consideration for inclusion in U.S. products. Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M UVA-filters, developed by the German chemical company BASF, appear to be much stronger and more photostable than avobenzone. In an effort to gain access to the U.S. market, BASF gave the FDA the results of toxicity and safety testing, including skin and eye irritation, phototoxicity, dermal toxicity and oral feeding studies (Regulations.gov 2008a,b). The European Commission examined Tinosorb S in 1999 (SCCNFP 1999) and Tinosorb M last year (SCCS 2013) and determined that both sunscreens could safely be used in sunscreens in concentrations of up to 10 percent. Last fall, the FDA asked BASF for more details about tests of both chemicals.



  • Highly effective protection from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Texture is not too heavy


  • though this product is marketed for skins that are highly sensitive or reactive this sunscreen has a fragrance. It runs the risk of irritating skin and may irritate those who have perfume sensitivities in general




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